The Tolkien Blog Party

 

Tolkien Party Hobbit Hole 2018

I’m joining my writing Kindred Spirit over at The Edge of the Precipice Blog in celebrating all that is Tolkien. (Hope over there for instructions on how to join in.) Today is Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday, and yesterday was the 81st Anniversary of the publication of the Hobbit. It seems a good time to celebrate. So pack that pipe, grab a beer, and put those furry feet up on a table as I talk about Tolkien.

Tolkien Tag 2018

1.  What’s your favorite Middle-earth story/book?

My favorite of all the Middle Earth books is Lord of the Rings. I probably love the Fellowship the best, but that’s a bit hard for me to say, since they’re all beautiful. The Silmarillion would have to be my second favorite, followed by the Hobbit.

2.  Do you have a favorite subplot?

Legolas and Gimli’s friendship is my favorite subplot. I love how it crosses cultures, ages, and even endures beyond the end of the world. I love the friendships in Lord of the Rings. Take Sam and Frodo. Their friendship carries them to the very end. Has there ever been a character as beautiful as Sam?

3.  What’s your favorite theme in Tolkien’s books?  (Can be in one specific story, or overall.)

My favorite theme is one stated by Sam near the beginning of the book: “…so old and young, and so gay and sad, as it were.” Sam is talking about meeting the elves for the first time, but I believe it is an undercurrent to all of Lord of the Rings. It is the sense I walk away with: the story is happy and yet so sad, young, yet so very old.

My other most favorite theme is eucatastrophe. Tolkien loved eucatastrophe. The idea of the turning point of grace. Lord of the Rings has several moments like that, where things change just when they’re all about to go so bad.

I also love the theme of the powerless-ness of the ring. Now wait, hear me out. I love that there are a tiny handful of characters that never really give into it. Bilbo gives it up in the end. Sam gives it back to Frodo. Faramir isn’t drawn to it. I love these little people who are able to resist it’s power. That is hope, hope right there.

4.  Do you have a favorite weapon from Middle-earth?

I’m partial to Aragorn’s sword Anduril, what a history. I’m also rather fond of Gil-galad’s spear Aiglos, which means snow-point. Even as a child I was fond of the idea, the image, of Gil-Galad and his spear.

5.  Would you like to be a hobbit?

I am a hobbit.

6.  Do you have a favorite romance/couple?

I always loved Arwen…mostly because she loves Aragorn. But, I do love the beauty, the sadness, and the almost distance of their romance, like it doesn’t play a huge part in the story.

I love Sam and Rosie. (Sam is kinda my favorite.)

But my favorite romance is Beren and Tinuviel. Their story is rich, heart-breaking, filled with pain, and ultimately brings about one of the greatest family lines in all of Middle Earth. It doesn’t hurt that my husband started calling me Tinuviel Undomiel when he finally read Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillon.

Faramir and Eyown are another favorite because Faramir brings Eyown so much hope.


7.  What’s your favorite Middle-earth creature?  (Can be “real” or “imaginary.”)

I really do love elves. I love so much about elves that I feel like Sam most of the time, kind of in awe of them. But in my heart of heart, I love hobbits the best.

8.  What character do you look the most like?

Probably Rosie if she had brown hair.

9.  Are there any books about Middle-earth or Professor Tolkien (but not written by him) you recommend?

Right now I’m reading A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18. It’s amazing. The more I learn about WW1 the better I understand Tolkien. 

10.  List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the Middle-earth books and/or movies.

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him.”

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”

 

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”

 

I’m going to stop there, because there are more lines in the Lord of the Rings that I love than I can every ever quote. You should see the mark ups I have in some of my copies.

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Quote of the Weekend

A sentiment that sums up many fantasy writers. Beautiful!

Quote of the Weekend

 

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Courtesy of Pinterest.

And of course, I must include a Tolkien Quote, if I’m going to do a series of quotes about light. I love this line, but I love it most when it’s applied to God’s Word. The scriptures are our light in dark places, when all other lights go out.

 

Why Faerie Stories?

Why Faerie Stories Cover

A new blog should probably explain who and what I am, what I write, what I love. This is why you’re here, right? You’ve either followed me for a while, read my stuff, or just found me. So, who is Abby Jones? Why do I call my stories Faerie Stories?

When Faerie is spelled in the old world way instead of the more modern ‘Fairy’, older myths are invoked. A sense of great mystery is called upon. It’s the unseen world just beyond the corner of your eye. It ties into the idea of getting trapped in the Faerie Realm where you stay forever. Or, you dance away the night, but when you come home a 100 years have passed. It pulls the reader back into a Realm that is draped in shadows. Magical gifts are given to those in need, but at a cost. It is the idea of an older, deeper, more mysterious magic. It invokes elves. Tolkien’s elves. With ‘Faerie’ otherness is summoned. The Fair Isle is called up. The past rises to meet the future, and things we have forgot awaken in our minds.

Most importantly, it calls on the magic of the idea of Eucatastrophe.

Eucatastrophe is a word Tolkien invented to capture the turning point of grace in a story. It is the moment the light comes on. It is the sunrise after a dark night. It is Aragon on at Helm’s Deep. It is Christmas Day. (God became man!) Most strongly, most powerfully, the true moment of Eucatastrophe is the Resurrection. Something we had nothing to do with changes the course of our history forever. It is the undeserved rescue. This isn’t deus ex machina, though it might look like that to an outside observer. No. This is the moment when everything has gone horribly wrong for every one and suddenly, unexpectedly, undeservedly, salvation comes. All that was bad is turned right. All that was broken is fixed. God steps into the picture.

This is the deeper, older magic that the White Witch didn’t know about. The turning point when Aslan dies and then comes back to save the world. This is every believer in our salvation. We didn’t deserve to be saved, but God sent his Son to become us, live, and die for us. He paid our cost even though he didn’t owe it. And then! He adopted us all into his family! How mighty a salvation.

This is Belle loving the Beast. He didn’t deserve that.

This is the Huntsman deciding not to kill Snow White even though it cost him his life.

This is the elves helping the shoemaker.

All of these, these Faerie Stories, have moments of Eucatastrophe. They mirror, and exaggerate real life.

 

Moments of Eucatastrophe are the moments the light comes on in our darkness.

We have forgotten in our day and age of self-fulfillment, independence, and the self-made-man/woman how dependent we are on moments of grace. We are finite, failing creatures, and we need something ‘other’ to help us. We need to be reminded that when we face moments of darkness the light isn’t dependent on us.

In real life, we find this in theologically sound, orthodox Christianity. Christianity is filled with epic and ordinary Eucatastrophes. In literature, it is best reflected in true Faerie Stories. This is why I write dark, haunting, “and at the last moment raise the sun” Faerie Stories for children, young and old. I want them to see the wonder of the undeserved rescue. The turning point of grace. The true Eucatastrophe.

The other side of Faerie Stories for me is actual Fairy Tales. These are stories by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. Some of them are super moralistic, and I never want my stories to be “if you’ll just be good, God will save you” stories. We can never be good enough to earn salvation, and to try is to damn our souls. But, there are plenty of good and helpful truths packed into Fairy Tales.

My background of Brothers Grimm might explain to some of you why my stories are so dark, and why I often have villains that not only don’t get rescued, they don’t want to be rescued. I like some undeserved rescues, and I like some damnation. I like mercy mixed with justice. The Brothers Grimm were adept at meeting out punishment to their Evil Queens, Step-Mothers, Witches, and more. I don’t have a problem ending a story with the ending of the villain.

I also don’t often have my readers sympathize with the villain. Sometimes, I will. But most often they will be someone who turns your stomach.

Why?

Because we are the villains. We should turn our stomachs. If you’re a Christian, you should know that Christ didn’t save the heroes. Christ befriended the villains. He rescued the monsters. This is a true Myth. A true Fairy Tale. A True Faerie Story. This is what I write.


What is your favorite Faerie Story/Fairy Tale or Retelling? Comment below and I’ll tell you mine.